NEW DELHI: Even as the dominant household form in India continues to be a mix of couples living with their children of any age, followed by extended families, a UN Women report draws attention to the significant number of lone parent families. Majority of these single parents are mothers. The report draws upon population estimates and related data to assert that an estimated 4.5 per cent of all households were lone-mother households which translates to 13 million households where lone-mothers lived alone with their children. Another 32 million are estimated to be living in extended households. Released on Tuesday, the global report “Progress Of The World’s Women 2019-2020” analyses how diverse family structures are impacting women and their choices. India it shares it is estimated that 46.7 per cent of the families are couples living with their children of any age. Over 31% live in extended families and there are 12.5% single-person families. Globally it turns out more than eight in every ten lone-parent households are headed by women (84.3 per cent). “Based on data from 89 countries, this translates to 101.3 million households where lone mothers live alone with their children. A remarkable diversity exists in the living arrangements of lone mothers: many do not live alone with their children but instead live in extended households. It is shared that the original source for household composition information for India comes from the 2009-2010 employment survey. This data on household size and household composition is then combined with the World Population Prospect (2017 revision) to derive the estimates in millions. Thus, the final figures in millions are based on 2017 estimates of India’s population. On the lives of lone mothers, the report states that poverty rates of households are much higher than those of dual parent households with children 6 years of age or younger. “In India, the poverty rate of lone mother households are 38 per cent in comparison to 22.6 per cent for dual-parent households,” it is stated. Marriage and motherhood penalties affect women’s labour force participation rates and income. In India, based on data from 2012, 29.1 per cent of all women aged 25-54 are in the labour force, compared to 97.8 per cent for men of the same age. For women, labour force participation is also impacted dramatically by marital status. The report also draws attention to the needs of the growing elderly population. “Women, on average, live longer than men in all regions and countries. At the global level, men’s life expectancy is projected to be lower than women’s by 4.6 years during the period 2015-2020 – 69.7 yrs vis a vis 74.3 years,” it is pointed to drive home the need to focus on the senior women too. The report offers many solutions and it is pointed that a study conducted four this report assessed that most countries could implement a package of family-friendly policies, including cash transfers, healthcare, and care services for children and older people for less than 5 per cent of GDP. UN Women, deputy executive director, Anita Bhatia said, “while some progress is evident within the Asia and the Pacific region, women and girls continue to be discriminated against and their contributions undervalued. Governments must renew their commitment to gender equality by identifying clear priorities and actions with set timelines and resources, in line with the 2030 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goa.
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